Preston's Harris Orphanage site: Just 24 hours left to have your say on controversial housing plans

Opponents of plans to build houses in the grounds of Preston's historic Harris Orphanage have just 24 hours to make their views known.

By Brian Ellis
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 9:28 am

The deadline for comments on the controversial scheme is tomorrow before Preston Council begins the process of deciding whether it should be allowed or not.

The planning application for 19 new homes on the site, with a further 20 to be created by converting the listed buildings in the Victorian complex, is the latest in a long-running saga over the future of the iconic orphanage.

And it is understood more than 100 objections have already been lodged with the city council as part of a local campaign to preserve the site and its distinctive buildings.

The Harris Orphanage was opened in 1888 and is a Grade II Listed complex.

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Officials of the Friends of Harris Park group are urging as many people as possible to send in their comments before tomorrow's deadline, which has been extended by a week due to the Christmas and New Year period.

The local campaign helped to halt a previous application to build more homes on the land almost two years ago.

Since then the owners of the Harris complex - the wealthy Bhailok family - have submitted an application to repair many of the old buildings to prevent further decay.

The orphanage's 100-year-old war memorial would be shifted under controversial plans for the site.

And now they have have resubmitted an application for new housing, with fewer detached homes earmarked for the former cricket field at the rear of the site where former England star Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff learned to play the game.

The latest scheme also includes moving the orphanage's war memorial to a new spot outside the boundary of the complex on the side of Garstang Road.

It has stood in the gardens in front of the orphanage for a century and the plans to move it have been slammed as "highly disrespectful."

After tomorrow's deadline for public comments, planning officers wil start to assess the new-look scheme and deliver their recommendations to the planning committee for debate over the next few weeks.

Anyone still wishing to have their say in writing should do so to: [email protected] marking it for the attention of Claire Booth and giving the planning reference numbers 06/2021/1604 and 06/2021/1605.